On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Farmingdale teachers and administrative staff gave the town of Farmingdale a parade to remember. Beginning at 9am and continuing for ten hours, they zigzagged their way through nearly every street in the district, waving and beeping their horns for all the students and families who came out of their homes to hold up signs and cheer them on. A total of six hundred staff members participated during the course of the day, decorating their vehicles in unique ways and writing notes of inspiration on their windows.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive through our entire district and wave at our kids,” said Mr. Defendini. “They’ve been through a tough couple of weeks, as have all of us, and this was a way to bring the community together.”
"We were in the queue for three and a half hours waiting to join, but it was so worth the wait!" said ENL high school teacher Michelle Angiulo. "I got a little choked up when I saw all the families waiting in the cold with signs thanking us."
"The sense of family and community that we have here in Farmingdale is like no other,” said Woodward Parkway Elementary School Principal Patrick Klocek. “We are so grateful to our faculty and staff for coming out in full force, as there were nearly 200 cars in the parade at different times of the day. To get such a warm and emotional response from our students and their families meant the world to us!"
“My participation in the parade is something I’ll never forget,” said Carey Persico, a Senior Clerk-Typist at Saltzman East Memorial Elementary School. “The outpouring of love was overwhelming as we drove through the community and heard the cheers of the students and saw their beautiful signs. I’m so proud to be a member of the Daler family.”
"As a lifelong Daler, I couldn’t have been more proud than I was during our parade!” said Board of Education Trustee Arlene Soete, who participated in the procession. “It was full of smiles, laughter, and true love for a great community. It gave us all hope and inspiration for better days ahead."
"Today I became a true Daler!" said Supervisor of Transportation Marc Medina as the parade came to a finish. He spent two weeks planning the route, using software he traditionally uses to route buses. “This was a monumental task for Dispatcher Troy Hill, who led the parade in our school bus. He did an outstanding job of navigating through the entire district.” Transportation staffer Mari Del Gais and Mr. Medina took turns monitoring the GPS and helping with directions. Text messages were sent throughout the day to update residents on where the parade was, and when it could be getting close to them. The Nassau County Police Department and the local fire departments escorted it during the morning hours, and Farmingdale Village Code Enforcement accompanied the procession for all ten hours.
“With the exception of a few momentous days, this may very well have been the best day of my life.” said Superintendent Paul Defendini. “There are so many people to thank but most notably I would like to thank our amazing staff for stepping up. We took over the town and spread an infectious dose of goodwill. This will live on for a long time as a day to remember in Farmingdale’s history. I am proud to have been a small part of such a big day!”